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Charu Majumdar

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Charu Majumdar
1st General Secretary of CPIML
General Secretary of the CPIML
In office
Darjeeling district secretary of CPIM
In office
State committee member of CPI
for West Bengal
In office
Personal details
Born(1918-05-15)15 May 1918
Siliguri, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died28 July 1972(1972-07-28) (aged 53)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Political partyCommunist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
SpouseLila Mazumdar Sengupta
ChildrenAbhijit Mazumdar
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta
North Bengal University
Siliguri College
Pabna Edward College
Criminal statusDeath in jail
Criminal chargeCriminal conspiracy

Charu Mazumdar (Bengali: চারু মজুমদার; 15 May 1918 – 28 July 1972), popularly known as CM, was an Indian Communist leader, and founder and General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).[1] Born into a progressive landlord family in Siliguri in 1918, he became a Communist during the Indian Independence Movement, and later formed the militant Naxalite cause. During this period, he authored the historic accounts of the 1967 Naxalbari uprising. His writings, particularly the Historic Eight Documents, have become part of the ideology of a number of Communism-aligned political parties in India.[2]


Mazumdar was born in Matualaloi, Rajshahi (now Siliguri) to a zamindar family.[3][4] His father Bireshwar Majumdar was a freedom fighter and president of the Darjeeling District Committee of the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement.[5]

In 1930, as a student in Siliguri, he joined the All Bengal Students' Association, which was affiliated to the underground anti-colonial organisation Anushilan Samiti, at the instance of Sewmangal Singh and Brojen Basu Roy Choudhuri.[6]

Having graduated from his ‘Matric’ exam in 1937 with a First Division, Mazumdar took admission to Edward College in Pabna district (present day Bangladesh). However he returned to Siliguri after sometime, having quit his formal education, in order to join the independence movement. In 1938, at the age of 19, he joined the Congress Socialist Party.[7]

The next year when the Communist Party of India (CPI) was organised in the neighbouring Jalpaiguri district, Mazumdar joined the then-banned party to work in its peasant front. Soon an arrest warrant forced him to go underground for the first time as a communist activist. Although the CPI was banned at the outbreak of World War II, he continued CPI activities among peasants and was made a member of the CPI Jalpaiguri district committee in 1942. The promotion emboldened him to organize a 'seizure of crops' campaign in Jalpaiguri during the Great Famine of 1943.[2] In 1946, he joined the Tebhaga movement in the Jalpaiguri region and embarked on a proletariat militant struggle in North Bengal.[8] The stir shaped his vision of a revolutionary struggle. Later he worked among tea garden workers in Darjeeling.

The CPI was banned in 1948 and he spent the next three years in jail. In January 1952 he married Lila Mazumdar Sengupta, a fellow CPI member from Jalpaiguri.[9] The couple moved to Siliguri, which was the center of Mazumdar's activities for a few years. He was briefly imprisoned in 1962.

During the mid-1960s Mazumdar organized a leftist faction in Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) in northern Bengal. In 1967, a militant peasant uprising took place in Naxalbari, led by his comrade-in-arms Kanu Sanyal. This group would later be known as the Naxalites, and eight articles written by him at this time—known as the Historic Eight Documents—have been seen as providing their ideological foundation: arguing that revolution must take the path of armed struggle on the pattern of the Chinese Communist Revolution. When the Naxalbari uprising was crushed in 1967, Mazumdar said: "...hundreds of Naxalbaris are smoldering in India....Naxalbari has not died and will not die"[7] The same year, Mazumdar broke away and formed the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries which in 1969 founded the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist)—with Mazumdar as its General Secretary.


He was captured in a state of bad health at his hideout on 16 July 1972 at 3 AM by an officer of Calcutta Police, Ranjit Guha Niyogi (alias Runu Guha Niyogi) and his team. As per the police, Mazumdar died of a massive heart attack at 4 AM on 28 July 1972.[10] But all the factions of Naxalites opine that it was a custodial murder and he was killed by not being provided medicine in the police lock up.[11] His body was cremated at Keoratola crematorium under the surveillance of armed police and paramilitary forces.[12]

The radical leftist movement in India has seen many ideological splits since Mazumdar's death.[13] The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation observes Martyrs day in the day of Mazumdar's death. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) observes Martyrs Week in the last week of July in remembrance of Mazumdar's death, where members revisit his ideology and memorialise his influence on their movement.[14]

Books on Charu Mazumdar's life[edit]

  • Charu Mazumdar: The Dreamer Rebel, written by Ashoke Mukhopadhyay, published by Niyogi Books in June 2022. ISBN 978-93-91125-03-5
  • India after Naxalbari: unfinished history, written by Bernard D'Mello, published by Monthly Review Press New York in 2018. ISBN 978-158367-706-3, 978-158367-707-0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roy, Arundhati (29 March 2010). "Walking With The Comrades". Outlook India. Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Charu Majumdar – The Father of Naxalism". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  3. ^ "नक्सल आंदोलन इन्होंने शुरू किया, आज उनके नाम पर आतंकवादी घूमते हैं". thelallantop. Archived from the original on 7 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Naxalbari@50: Maoist uprising was sparked by this tribal woman leader". Hindustan Times. 23 May 2017.
  5. ^ Mahotsav, Amrit. "Bireshwar Majumdar". Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  6. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Ashok (6 June 2022). "Charu Majumdar: A new biography imagines the CPIM(L) leader's interrogation by the police". Scroll.in. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  7. ^ a b Banerjee, Sumanta (1984). India's Simmering Revolution: The Naxalite Uprising. Zed Press. p. 112. ISBN 9780862320386.
  8. ^ Banerjee, Rabi (3 July 2016). "The man India loves to forget". theweek.in. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  9. ^ "Charu and Son: Revisiting the Legacy of a Revolutionary Father 50 Years After Naxalbari". The Wire. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  10. ^ "The last of the three". The Indian Express. 25 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Charu Majumdar -- The Father of Naxalism". Hindustan Times. 9 May 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Charu and Son: Revisiting the Legacy of a Revolutionary Father 50 Years After Naxalbari". The Wire. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  13. ^ Kujur, Rajat (2009). "Naxal conflict in 2008: an assessment" (PDF). Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.
  14. ^ Bhattacharjee, Sumit (31 July 2020). "Is Charu Majumdar's ideology relevant today?". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 18 October 2021.

External links[edit]